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Fake blood effects – Tips and tricks

Introduction – Fake blood effects

Fake blood is used in everything from Shakespeare tragedies, Halloween makeup, and zombie thrillers. Theatrical blood can be an exciting addition to a show or movie.

It gives a scary realism to dramatic moments, and will surprise the audience and others when they do not expect to see it.

However, the use of theatrical blood can be challenging, no matter how experienced the cast, make-up artist, and technicians are. Here are some tips and tricks for those who are thinking of using theatrical blood in a show or film production.


Expert tips – Fake blood effects

? Blood will steal a lot of focus. Be absolutely sure that the effect is necessary to develop and convey the story, or the moment may be “lost.”

? You can use either blood bags or blood capsules to create different effects:

  • Blood bags are small bags filled with blood that can be hidden by actors and punctured to create the effect of bleeding.
  • Blood capsules are small capsules filled with blood that can be used in the mouth. You put the blood capsule in your mouth and bite it to create the effect of bleeding. Several blood capsules can be used at the same time if desired. Blood capsules are perfect for fight scenes, as well as characters like zombies, vampires, Dracula, and other monsters.


? When filling blood capsules, it is a good idea to use a pipette or a bottle with a spout. A tip is to stand over a sink in case you spill any fake blood.

? Ben Nye make-up’s Dark Blood and Ben Nye Stage Blood have a peppermint taste that is often more pleasant for those who use the blood in their mouths.

? Lighting and costumes will change the way the blood looks on stage or in the movie. Be sure to test your effects under the lighting and with the costumes to be used to avoid unpleasant surprises.

? Think about the color of the costumes that your actors wear. If an actor is wearing black, will the redness in the blood be visible? Could a costume change be possible?

? Wash costumes and garments as soon as possible after the performance or filming. The longer the blood is on the garments, the harder it will be to remove.

? In such cases, it can be smart to have two pairs of costumes so that you can use one while the other set is being cleaned.

? Put the costume to be washed in a bucket filled with a mixture of soap and water as soon as possible if there is some time before the costume is to be washed.

? Exercise using water is great and quick to clean up, but remember that water behaves very differently than thicker blood.

? Light red blood will cause a faster and deeper psychological shock to the audience if used quickly, unexpectedly, and/or in small amounts.

? Dark red blood is best for larger effects and/or effects that are on stage/film for a longer time.

? The blood effect does not have to come immediately after the injury. The fact that bleeding begins a little later, especially if there are lines, often has a better effect and result.

? When using blood bags, use the cheapest sandwich bags possible. Tie a simple knot to create pressure on the blood (tape usually falls off and does not create enough pressure) Aim the blood by facing the bag’s seam in the direction you want the blood to go when you make a hole in the bag.

? Keep it simple. If the effect becomes too complex, the probability of an error increases. Actors have plenty to think about without having to add a bulky or difficult solution to deliver the perfect splash of blood.

? Remove theatrical blood from the skin with soap and water, unless otherwise stated on the product or website description. Do not remove blood with make-up wipes/baby wipes, as some of these may contain minerals that cause staining on the skin.

? After applying blood to a fake wound, you can spray some water on the spot and use your fingers to pull the blood around a bit, creating the appearance that there has been blood around the wound before it was wiped away.

graftobian magic blood powder sfx fake blood effects sfxzone tips
Picture – Graftobian Makeup. Magic Blood Powder.

? You can use Blood Gel, Thick Blood or Blood Paste to use in wounds and on the skin if you want the blood to stay and not run. It is important to think about the continuity of the film.

? You can use a stipple sponge to apply blood to create the effect of scratches.

? You can use pigment from eye shadow or blush to adjust the color of stage blood. Just experiment with different shades and combinations to find the right color for your needs.

?Mehron produce a own fake blood that comes in a spray bottle for creating the effect of blood splatters on actors or costumes.

Safety

Theater blood can also be dangerous on stage if it lands on the floor, as it can make the surface slippery in some cases. It is important to clean up any spills immediately to prevent accidents. Additionally, it may be a good idea to use a non-slip mat or other safety measures to prevent slipping when using stage blood.

Do not swallow fake blood! Although the type of blood is intended for use in the mouth, large amounts of swallowed fake blood can in some cases cause stomach problems.

Even though it is fake, the use of stage blood can evoke a deep fear and stress in actors and other people. Some people may have a strong reaction when they see blood, and it can evoke emotions that are not expected. It is important to use stage blood carefully and consider the potential emotional impact it may have on those involved in the production. It may be a good idea to have a plan in place for dealing with any negative reactions to the use of stage blood.

Do you have questions about fake blood? Get in touch 🙂

Recommended book about fake blood effects

Want to learn more about fake blood and blood effects for stage and screen? Check out this book by Jennifer McClure;

Recommended Stage Blood

Post written by Sander Skarås Pedersen. (SPFX.NO)

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